All winter, every winter, my unused back porch turns into a catch-all room, a storage room, gathering dust and odds and ends including old lamps, stuff for Salvation Army, and who knows what else? Yesterday I spent naptime moving furniture and stuff, vacuuming, scrubbing and DE-CLUTTERING. It feels so good to have my cute little porch back.

Here’s the shameful before picture with a winter’s worth of junk:

Yikes! That's embarrassing... and this is the entrance we and guests use every time.

The view from the back door. Layers of dust and junk. I do like the bamboo shades though.

I included this one because you can really see the dust build-up under the bench. It's awful. Why am I posting these on the internet?! What is wrong with me?!

Okay, so here are the after pictures that (somewhat) redeem me as a wife, mother, and human being.

Aaaah. Much better. It's all scrubbed, washed, vacuumed. Much, much better.

This is a doll clothes armoire I had when I was a little girl. I love it as an end table!

No more dust under that bench!

Won’t my mommy be so proud of me?

Have a great weekend!

My extremely entertaining brother-in-law is “Average Dan” on Fox 23 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. A few months ago, he shot a series of promotional videos, some of which I’ve included here. Be sure to check him out on Fox 23 and click here to read his reviews of above average businesses in the Tulsa area.

The maniacs and I spent at least a half hour the other day watching the ten second commercials over and over and over. And laughing.

The five second rule should not be questioned. You can tell its a rule. How? Because of the way it is. Deal with it.

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Sneezing is a serious health condition. Do it carefully and responsibly.

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On Average, people laugh 17 times a day. In order to reach my daily laugh quota, sometimes I have to find a loophole, so I made this video for those days when I need a pinch-hitter and don’t feel like chuckling one bit.

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Our three maniacs, from left to right, TT(4 1/2), Vanilla(15 mo.), and Peach(2 1/2). And yes, the two big kids crawl themselves into Vanilla's crib almost every morning and all three jump... Don't judge me.

On my other, extremely neglected blog, I attempted to keep track of funny or insightful things my kids said because they are constantly coming up with new gems. However, I often hear them say something, laugh about it and tell their dad, then forget about it. Today is redemption for my other blog, Out of the Mouths of Maniacs.

Here are some glimpses from that website as well as some new stuff the maniacs have been telling me lately.

1. After we returned home from vacation – TT: Mom, I just want you to be home for one day then go on vacation again.

2. Dad: What do you want to be when you grow up, buddy?
TT (age 4): What do I want to be when I grow up? Hmmmm…. A husband!

3.  Peach, our two and a half year old, has several nicknames for her little sister, and we don’t know where any of them came from. They are: Cakes, Quakes, and Little You-ee-high.

4. Lately, our baby, who is now 15 months old, has been saying, “Hi Peach!” and “Hi Sase!” (talking to her brother).

5. TT (age 4): Mom, you know how I can fly like Superman?
Me: How?
TT: I can get a cape on my back and a stick on my crotch and fly away!
Me: A stick on your WHAT?
TT: On my crotch. You know, like Harry Potter.

6. Peach (age 2, after painting her toenails hot pink): Mom, can I take my pink toes to bed with me?

7. Then there’s this conversation between a plastic goat and a plastic horse (via my two-year-old):
Goat: I love you.
Horse: Well, I love you too. Let’s run away from the hyheenas!

8. TT: That grape was disgusting. It tasted like yard.
Me: How do you know what “yard” tastes like?
Crickets, crickets.

9. As I’m wiping my four-year-old’s butt – TT: Mommy, I think you are just gorgeous!

10. Peach: I can do whatever I want!
TT: (in a very calm tone) No, you cannot do whatever you want. You are a child.

Which is your favorite? What are some awesome things your kids have said lately (or ever)?

AbortionBlackout.com is turning into a movement in the United States. Their short video (click below to view) explains simple statistics regarding abortions. It’s heartbreaking to realize how many children we’ve lost to abortion just in the last 30+ years.

Even if you feel you can’t participate in the Abortion Blackout each Friday, please pray for the children lost to abortion, their mothers and fathers who are probably suffering, and the healthcare professionals that they may have a change of heart.

Thank you Father Daren for bringing this movement to my attention. Feel free to reblog, share on Facebook, Pin It, Tweet about it, just spread the news about the Abortion Blackout.

Okay, so this bag I keep in my van isn’t for actual emergencies, but more for normal “kid” emergencies. We were at a local indoor playground recently (Going Bonkers) and my newly potty trained two-year-old wet her pants. I frantically searched the diaper bag for anything that would fit her, then ran out to the van while my little girl cried quietly because she still wanted to play.

Out in the van, the only thing I could find was a pair of gym shorts (and it was below freezing out) that my four-year-old hadn’t quite grown into yet. Why did I have shorts in my van in the middle of January? Because sometimes I can be a bit way too unorganized, and this pair happened to fall out of a bag of hand-me-downs we had received from another family.

I brought the shorts, thinking we were just going to have to make them work, when a good Samaritan–another mom I barely know–offered her son’s extra pair of sweat pants without a second thought. All I could do was keep saying, “Thank you! Thank you so much!” And thinking to myself, “I wish I was her right now. I wish I was smart enough to have extra clothes for my kids. Why am I NOT a type-A personality?!”

Then I discovered that it doesn’t take a type-A personality to put together a kid emergency bag. Here’s what’s in mine:

The Van Emergency Bag for Kids

  • Diapers
  • Wipes
  • Extra set of clothes for each kid, including socks and underwear
  • Jacket or sweater for each kid
  • Jammies for the baby

I just put it all in a bag, and it stays in the trunk of my van. Easy as pie! (I never understood this saying… it’s not really that easy to make pie.)

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I also found a car emergency kit placed in an adorably decorated plastic wipes case on the blog Rips in My Jeans (found via Pinterest, of course!). So I decided to make my own. Since I know I’ll never make the time to actually cover the box in cute fabrics, I’m just using Tupperware. Here’s what’s in my box:

The Van Emergency Box

I like that the Tupperware is clear so I can see everything inside without taking off the lid. This piece is a square #2 Modular Mate with a blue lid.

  • grocery bag for trash
  • hand sanitizer
  • Wet Ones
  • ibuprofen
  • lotion
  • white petroleum jelly (good to use for diaper rash cream or lip balm or for small cuts)
  • tissues
  • a safety pin
  • a small amount of cash & change
  • non-perishable snacks (I have Craisins)
  • a hair tie
  • a pen
  • bubbles (my maniacs go absolutely nuts for bubbles)
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Now I can feel like one of those actually-making-Pinterest-projects, wore-her-skinny-jeans-home-from-the-hospital, super-organized-tidy-house b moms… even though I’m really not.

Funny Friday – The Round-Up Kid

March 23rd, 2012 | Posted by Bryn in Funny Friday | Kids - (0 Comments)

Last Friday my four-year-old son TT and I went to Kindergarten Round-Up. He’ll be attending our parish’s Catholic school, and he was pretty excited about the whole thing. My favorite quote: “Mom, you promised it was going to be so fun, and it was!” So now, even though I know I’ll be sad once August gets here, I know in my heart he’ll be well taken care of and happy when he’s at school ALL DAY next year.

Here are some shots of him after we got home from Kindergarten Round-Up:

My soon-to-be kindergartener with his new hat, handkerchief, necklace, and badge from the "Round-Up". Giddy-up partner!

Gram watched the girls while TT and I went to Kindergarten Round-Up, so she deserved a picture with the new cowboy hat.

TT sure loves his Gram. He cried when we figured out she was babysitting his sisters, but not him.

Me and V. She's still bald, but she ain't a baby. At 15 months, she's running all over the place and still cute as a button.

Okay, so this wasn’t the classic hilarious funny Friday, but a girl’s gotta show off her kids sometimes… right? :)

Have a great weekend everyone!

Today’s Saturday Spruce-Up is a quick fix in attitude and outlook on the wonderful holiday of St. Patrick’s Day. Jeff Cavins, a reputable Catholic author and speaker, posted this on Facebook today (with my highlights in bold).

Today we are giving up the “Luck of the Irish” for the “Faith of the Irish”.Photo courtesy of Jeff Cavins' facebook page

How many times have you discussed with your spouse or colleague what you would do if you won the Powerball? You can get lost in that dream world of “what if.”

Projecting out into the future what life would be like if you had the winning numbers, creates an illusion that more than likely will never come true. Instead of putting your hope in the lottery, put your hope in the same God that St. Patrick put his hope in.
Today for Lent, let’s emphasize that we are not dependent upon luck, such as Powerball and pulltabs but the providence of God and His faithfulness. 

Jeremiah the prophet said, “For I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11).
There are things in life that are more important than material things. Jeremiah goes on to say, “There is hope for your future, says the LORD, and your children shall come back to their own country (Jeremiah 31:17).

Jesus said, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matthew 6:19-20).

Just to show you how serious I am about this, I’m not even eating Lucky Charms for breakfast today.

PS: The Irish have a longstanding history of spreading the Catholic faith around the world. We need to pray for our Catholic brothers and sisters in Ireland today.

My own plans fall through all the time, but I trust in God that He knows what He’s doing, and He’ll take care of me. Why Catholic? this year is focused on prayer. Last week and the next few weeks, we are focusing on the “Our Father”. Although many of us can recite it without even thinking about it, the challenge is to really think about each line and what it means. Pray with me (and think about each line!)

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name. 
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil. Amen. 

“Thy will be done” is the phrase I’m focusing on this week. Which parts of the “Our Father” are the most challenging to you? Which parts comfort you?

DollarShaveClub.com just launched last week, and their video (which only cost about $4500 to produce) is pure advertising genius. It’s absolutely perfect for their target market.

WARNING: This video contains a bleeped out f-bomb, as well as a few other more mild cuss words. So don’t blame me if your kids repeat anything… Enjoy.

I just discovered these graphics at CoolStuff.com. Parents and non-parents alike, enjoy. Have a great weekend everyone!

P.S. Uncle Connor, I’m talking to you.

Back to Blogging: My Ketchup Day

March 8th, 2012 | Posted by Bryn in Faith - (0 Comments)

My honey and I were on vacation for 8 days in the Caribbean (aaahhhh) without cell phone service or internet access, so I feel like I’ve been off the radar for ages. Our cruise was just what we needed–to reconnect, to relax, to spend some time in the sun in the middle of winter. Pure bliss.

Anyway, this week I’ve been running around at 100 mph getting back into the kids’ routines and making sure my part is done for my brother-in-law’s wedding this weekend. Thursday is our jammie day, our go-nowhere day, my “ketchup” day. Get it? Catch up/ketchup? Oh, who knew I was so clever? :)

So that’s what I’ve been doing–catching up on my blog, on emails, on work, phone calls, etc. I am still not quite finished with my blog post for Catholic Mothers Online, which was due March 1 (sorry Angie!), but hopefully by the end of the day that’ll be on my done list as well.

Here is what I (and maybe you!) missed while I was gone:

1. Brett Miller is recovering at home after his brain surgery on February 24th. This is not the official website that his family updates. For the most up-to-date news on Brett’s condition, please visit his CaringBridge website.

2. A QND alum passed away this weekend. Brian Nuessen (who I remember as one of the “big kids” in the neighborhood) was a good friend to all who knew him and will be greatly missed. One great story about Brian that I’d like to share is about my older sister. She and Brian were in the same class in 5th grade, and one Saturday evening he called and asked her to go to a movie with him. My dad told her to tell him, “Sure, in about six years.” (We weren’t allowed to date till we were 16) I don’t know if they ever did go to a movie together, but what a stud to ask a girl out at 10 years old! :)
I’m praying for his family as they say goodbye, share memories, and lay him to rest today.

3. Kony 2012 is sweeping the nation! This 30 minute long video will change your outlook on what our military does in countries where fear, death, and sadness are the norm. I hope and pray that Kony is found and sent to prison for life for the atrocities he committed against children. Please watch the video here and if nothing else, pray.